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Advanced Concepts for Low-Cost High-Speed Uncooled Infrared Detectors


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Electronics 

OBJECTIVE: Exploration of advanced concepts for high-performance, low-cost, uncooled infrared detectors and focal plane arrays for soldier systems 

DESCRIPTION: Exploitation of recent advances in electronics, optoelectronics, communications, and quantum computing may provide future breakthroughs in infrared detectors, offering promising opportunity for soldier-worn sensors. Examples of these advances include colloidal semiconductor quantum dots, quantum wire carbon nanotubes, and graphene with combined structures that could potentially enable highly beneficial detector designs for photoconductors, photodiodes, or field effect transistors (1-3). These and similar technologies may be the future steps for high-speed, compact, lightweight, and low-cost sensor operation. In this topic, high-speed, high-performance infrared detector concepts operating at room temperature are being pursued to support small, lightweight, low-power soldier sensor systems that perform better than current imagers. Detectors should operate at very high speeds like quantum detectors, and at room-temperature like bolometers. For the future Army dismounted soldiers, low cost and small size, weight and power (SWaP) infrared sensors are critical to equip our soldiers in the battlefield. This topic has significant impact on the CFTs Soldier Lethality, as well as Future Vertical Lift and Next Gen Combat Vehicles. The detailed detector performance includes but is not limited to 1) High speed at 120Hz operation, 2) High performance comparable to or better than the current bolometers at room temperature, 3) Suitability for large format, small pitch focal plane array fabrication, 4) Compatibility with existing readout integrated circuitry for detector integration, and 5) Cost lower than current bolometers. Detectors should operate at room temperature with a D* of ~1E10 Jones and response time in the millisecond range. The cutoff wavelength can be in the long- or mid-wavelength infrared spectrum. It is highly desired to have the capability to capture a thermal image without light. Low-light-level, visible or near infrared detectors will also be considered. A suitable digital readout integrated circuit (ROIC) should be identified for uncooled detector use. 

PHASE I: In Phase I, an innovative detector concept should be modeled and designed and detectors should be grown and processed to demonstrate single element diodes. 

PHASE II: The innovative concept should be demonstrated at the infrared focal plane array (FPA) level with frame rate at >120Hz and performance similar to current bolometers at room temperatures. 

PHASE III: Develop and execute a plan to market and manufacture the new focal plane arrays (FPAs). Assist Army in transitioning this technology to the appropriate Prime Contractor(s) for the engineering integration and testing. The contractor shall pursue commercialization of the various technologies and electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) components developed in Phase II for potential commercial uses in such diverse fields as law enforcement, rescue and recovery operations, environmental monitoring sensors, maritime and aviation collision avoidance sensors, medical test equipment, homeland defense surveillance, and other infrared detection and imaging applications. 


1: "MWIR Imaging With Low Cost Colloidal Quantum Dot Films", Christopher Buurmaa, Richard E. Pimpinellaa, Anthony J. Ciania, Jered S Feldmana, Christoph H. Greina, and Philippe Guyot-Sionnestb, Proc. of SPIE Vol. 9933 993303-3 (2017)

2:  "Broadband Photodetectors Enabled by Localized Surface Plasmonic Resonance in Doped Iron Pyrite Nanocrystals", Maogang Gong,* Ridwan Sakidja, Qingfeng Liu, Ryan Goul, Dan Ewing, Matthew Casper, Alex Stramel, Alan Elliot, and Judy Z. Wu*, Adv. Optical Mater. 6, 1701241, (2018).

3:  "Room temperature performance of mid-wavelength infrared InAsSb nBn detectors", Alexander Soibel, Cory J. Hill, Sam A. Keo, Linda Hoglund, Robert Rosenberg, Robert Kowalczyk, Arezou Khoshakhlagh, Anita Fisher, David Z.-Y. Ting, and Sarath D. Gunapala, Applied Physics Letters 105, 023512 (2014).

KEYWORDS: Uncooled Infrared Detectors, Focal Plane Arrays, Quantum Detectors 

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